Close your eyes and picture it: The year is 2009. You’re probably wearing a graphic tee from Justice with a hideous pair of Bermuda shorts and some sneakers. You’re listening to your iPod Nano on shuffle. All of a sudden, you drop your cherry flavored lip smackers, grab your hairbrush and run to your reflection in your bedroom window as Taylor Swift’s "You Belong with Me" starts blasting in your wired headphones. [bf_image id="qfzb9i-78gyzk-dx3p9e"]
Oh, to go back to the good ol' days, am I right? Luckily, the good ol' days are coming back to you. On April 9, 2021, just shy of 11 years since the album was first released, Taylor Swift will be rereleasing her most popular album to date, Fearless (Taylor’s Version.) While I’m sure none of us are complaining about getting to relieve some of the most iconic music of our childhoods, you may find yourself asking why? Here’s what you need to know:
- 2006: Taylor's Start
In 2006, Taylor signed with Big Machine Records, with whom she put out her first single, “Tim McGraw.” Big Machine Records released her first six albums, from Taylor Swift to Reputation.
- 2009: Feud With Kanye West
In 2009 (not directly related, but backstory on her history with Scooter Braun), Taylor gets into a major feud with Kanye West—a client of Braun’s—and Kim Kardashian, over Kanye’s use of Taylor Swift’s name in his song “Famous” where he calls her “That B****.” There were many issues over the legality of the lyrics, and Braun did not engage in the disputes. He did, however, encourage two of his other clients, Justin Bieber being one of them, to bully Taylor about it online. This was the beginning of Taylor’s issues with the future villain of our tale.
- 2018: Taylor Signs With New Label
In 2018, Taylor’s contract finally ended with Big Machine Records, and she signed with a new record label, Universal Music Group. Unfortunately, her music was still owned by Big Machine Records. This music, also known as her “masters,” are all the original recordings she did with the label. This becomes a bit of a problem when…
- 2019: Legal Dealings With Scooter Braun
In 2019, Scooter Braun bought Taylor’s masters from Big Machine Records in a sale with equity firm Shamrock Capital. Braun would continue to profit off of all of Taylor's music, essentially having complete control over it. Taylor claims that she attempted to buy her masters back before the deal was solidified, but the terms were astronomically unfair. She was required to first sign a non-disclosure agreement promising to never talk about Braun again, unless in a positive light of course. She could not even hear the numbers they wanted from her in exchange for the masters until this was signed. Taylor’s team said that this type of agreement was almost unheard of, except of course in NDA’s for sexual assault suits. Taylor said that the agreement would force her to resign with her old label and have to “earn” back her original masters, a new album for an old album.
Just another important side note about the Shamrock deal: CEO of Big Machine Records, Scott Borchetta, was also heavily involved with the selling of the record label. As negotiations were being made, Borchetta—who was very close to Taylor considering is position within the record label—knew of her disgust with Braun and unwillingness to work with him from the start, yet sold everything over to him anyway. Her song “The Man,” was very much inspired by these industry men treating her as an object to be sold instead of respecting her as an artist. The most ironic thing about the release of this song is it came out when…
- Also in 2019: A New Album
In 2019 Taylor released her first album that she ever owned, Lover, and announced that she would be rerecording her original masters.
- 2021: Taylor Makes Fearless Announcement
On Feb 11, 2021, Taylor posted on Instagram that she had finished rerecording her album Fearless and that she was dropping her first rereleased song, "Love Story (Taylor’s Version)" the next night. She also included a message with various “randomly” capitalized letters that conveniently spell out April 9th, which is when she is expected to release the full album.
That’s pretty much all you need to know! If you haven’t listened to "Love Story: Taylor’s Version" yet I 10/10 recommend you do so. It is nearly identical to the original version from 2009, and I guarantee it will have you flashing back to your very cringey pre-pubescent days in all of the best ways.[bf_image id="q7kkxd-9qev14-80lrfr"]